June 21, 2018: Trump Postpones Annual Congressional Picnic, Amazon Creates an Alexa for Hotels, Instagram's Cannes Lions Experience Highlights History of Storytelling

By Ian Zelaya June 21, 2018, 8:39 AM EDT

1. TRUMP POSTPONES ANNUAL CONGRESSIONAL PICNIC: President Trump postponed today's annual picnic for members of Congress, saying it “doesn't feel right” during the situation at the U.S.-Mexico border, where immigrant children have been separated from their families because of Trump's “zero-tolerance” immigration policy. Associated Press: “But he went ahead Wednesday with a scheduled trip to Duluth, Minnesota, including a nighttime 'Make America Great Again' campaign rally for a Republican congressional candidate. Trump did not say when the picnic on the South Lawn, which is attended by lawmakers and their families, as well as White House and senior administration officials, would be rescheduled. He announced the postponement as he sat down at the White House with Republican members of the House and Senate. ... More than 2,300 migrant children have been separated from their families at the border since May, the government said. Before departing for Minnesota, Trump signed an executive order to keep families together at the border. 'So we will be officially postponing the congressional picnic for tomorrow. We’ll make it another time when things are going extremely well. And they are going for the country extremely well,' the president said. 'We have record-setting numbers in every way economically, but we want to solve this immigration problem, which is going on for four years more. It’s been going on forever, and we want to see if we can solve it, so we are canceling, we’re postponing the congressional picnic tomorrow.'" Trump did not say what would happen to the steaks and other meats cooks had been pre-grilling at the White House in preparation for the picnic."

2. AMAZON CREATES AN ALEXA FOR HOTELS: Amazon announced it has developed Alexa for Hospitality, a new edition of its smart speaker for hotels and vacation rental companies. USA Today: “The voice-activated virtual assistant device that many people have adopted in their homes to play music, keep track of their schedules, and give them news headlines and weather reports is making its way into hotel rooms. So far, Marriott International has signed on to test the new product this summer at select properties in several of its brands. Among the specific hotels that Alexa is testing the product: the Charlotte Marriott City Center in North Carolina and the Marriott Irvine Spectrum in California. It will also be featuring the product in eight other U.S. properties among brands such as Westin Hotels and Resorts, St. Regis Hotels and Resorts, Aloft Hotels, and its Autograph Collection of independent hotels. … So far, Two Roads Hospitality is trying out Alexa for Hospitality at two of its properties, Thompson Seattle and The Liaison Capitol Hill, a Joie de Vivre hotel in Washington, D.C. The company plans to roll out Alexa for Hospitality at additional North American properties throughout this year and into 2019. It may even expand it internationally. ‘Natural voice commands will enable efficient check-outs, in-room dining and housekeeping requests, voice-activated valet services and in-room control of lighting, temperature and more,’ says Andrew Arthurs, senior vice president and chief information officer for Two Roads Hospitality. ‘Guests may now get quick answers to many of their question—such as the hotel's Wi-Fi password and restaurant hours—without having to pick up the phone, dial and wait for a response. In the meantime, our staff spends less time on the phone and more time with our guests.’”

3. INSTAGRAM'S CANNES LIONS EXPERIENCE HIGHLIGHTS HISTORY OF STORYTELLING: For this year's Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, Instagram partnered with kinetic sculpture designer Es Devlin to create an interactive art installation about the history of storytelling. Adweek: “Starting with cave drawings and coalescing with overlapping Instagram Stories, the short piece not only showcases the multifaceted storytelling taking place on the platform but makes a statement about the power and humanity in it. Instagram felt Es Devlin was 'the right artist who could articulate how we felt about stories and how one story could actually shift how we felt about the entire world,' Kay Hsu global Instagram lead at Facebook Creative Shop explained. Devlin’s piece puts viewers in the center of the story, seating them in the middle of a room with mirrored walls and projection mapping. As you watch it unfold it is impossible to feel removed from the piece—even if you look to the right or left you’ll see your reflection as you do. That’s likely the point: Storytelling is a necessary part of being human and even if you don’t believe in your story or know how to tell your story it is important and valuable. It’s easy to think that Instagram Stories is just a platform for people to share things—annoyances, a little moment of joy, whatever it may be—but the experience asks the viewer to consider the larger implications of the platform. The experience also makes you wonder what the collection of those stories will look like years from now."


CHICAGO:  The Chicago Air and Water Show, presented by Shell and the City of Chicago, will take place August 18-19 at North Avenue Beach. 

LAS VEGAS:  Golden Entertainment has appointed Bart Mahoney vice president of food and beverage. Mahoney has nearly three decades of experience in dining operations for Las Vegas resorts and restaurant groups including Wynn Las Vegas, Bellagio Resort & Casino, and Wolfgang Puck Fine Dining Group. 

Smith & Wollensky Restaurant Group will open Smith & Wollensky Las Vegas steakhouse at the Grand Canal Shoppes in spring 2019. 

LOS ANGELES:  Former White House social secretary Jeremy Bernard has been named president of the Mayor's Fund for Los Angeles, an independent organization that supports civic partnerships between the public, private, and philanthropic sectors of the city. In addition to serving in the Obama administration, Bernard previously worked as senior advisor to the United States Ambassador in France and as White House liaison to the National Endowment for the Humanities. Earlier this year, he published a book with George W. Bush's social secretary Lea Berman called Treating People Well: The Extraordinary Power of Civility at Work and in Life

For information on upcoming events in Los Angeles, visit Masterplanner:

NEW YORK:  Two Roman-inspired restaurants from chef Jonathan Benno are opening this summer at the Evelyn. Leonelli Taberna is a casual trattoria with a cocktail bar and lounge, slated to open June 25; and Leonelli Focacceria e Pasticceria is a bakery and café slated to open July 9.

Sensorium, a series of reality-altering installations produced by Guerilla Science, will be on display June 23-24 during Figment Arts Festival on Governors Island. The multisensory exhibit will take over 10 rooms in House 407B on Colonel’s Row. 

For information on upcoming events in New York, visit Masterplanner:

SAN FRANCISCO:  Glide, an organization that works to end poverty and marginalization, will have its ninth annual Glide Legacy Gala August 4 at August Hall. The charity event is hosted by the Glide Legacy Committee, a young professional group that works to spread the mission of the organization.  

TORONTO:  Kimpton Saint George hotel opened June 19. The 14-story boutique hotel has 188 guest rooms and a 1,100-square-foot meeting space that seats 102 guests theater-style. 

YOUR NEWS: What are you doing? Tell us:

JOB BOARD: Post a job or find a job:

With contributions from Claire Hoffman in Los Angeles and Beth Kormanik, Michele Laufik, Ian Zelaya, and Kristine Liao in New York.

BizBash Daily is the must-read digest of event industry news from

Feed the Sheet:


Advertise with BizBash:


Sign up for the BizBash Daily - stay current with the event industry.
Your email inquiry will be sent to 3 venue